Burke, the 2010-11 president of the Football Championship Subdivision Athletics Directors Association, was positive about the current association between the two levels during a 12-minute conversation with Brando, one of the most highly-regarded broadcasters covering college sports. The Shreveport native and resident is a national commentator for Fox Sports after 18 years with CBS Sports as the studio host for Saturday college football games.
The contention that the recent vote for autonomy in NCAA regulations for schools in the Southeastern, Big Ten, Big XII, Atlantic Coast and Pac 12 conferences will result in less or no opportunity for regular-season contests in all sports against smaller Division I programs such as Northwestern State doesn’t hold up, Burke told Brando.
“We need those football guarantees and we need those basketball guarantees,” Burke said. “The BCS shoveled money our way which helped us out with FCS football telecasts and getting us a lot of exposure. At the same, and I say this modestly because I have a lot of friends at that level in the top 60 (now generally referred to as the schools in the ‘Power Five’ conferences), they need us too. They need the games. I think we’re good for each other.”
In June, Burke attended the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics convention in Orlando, Fla. along with 85-90 athletic directors across all levels and said he came away confident with the future of collegiate athletics as an FCS program.
“I did get the feeling that something needed to change and I think we all agreed, but I didn’t get the feeling we couldn’t all still exist together still,” Burke said. “There are other issues across the landscape of Division I; the transfer issue I think is very important; the scholarship limit is very important.
“We were assured by some professionals I really respect that those things were not going to change. If somehow we can all blend that into the cost of attendance and if the top 60 want to do it, they can. I don’t think the sky is falling, I think college athletics still has a great future.”
Burke, who has studied cost of attendance and the idea of paying players for over a decade, said he believes there is an undervalue of benefits student-athletes currently receive from their respective institutions.
“We have a young man on our football team, Imoan Claiborne, senior cornerback, first-team preseason All-Southland Conference from Alexandria and he was interviewed at media day and they asked him about the cost of attendance and getting paid,” Burke said. “His response was, ‘I’m getting a lot already. There wasn’t an expectation on my part that I should get any more.’ Imoan, by the way is married and has a two-year-old daughter.”